Hapag-Lloyd remains in red amid 'challenging market'


Hapag-Lloyd, one of the world’s leading liner shipping companies, reported a reduced loss for the first quarter of the year and has warned an improved market will not affect the company’s bottom line until the second half of the year.

The company revealed earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation stood at €219.4m ($262.7m) up from €135.3m last year and an operating result stood at €53.7m, up from €7.5m.

Despite these augmented figures, Hapag ultimately incurred a net loss, albeit shrunken from 2017; the carrier lost €34.3m, down from €58.1m.

Hapag-Lloyd chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen said the company had had a “solid start” to 2018 in a “challenging” market.

“Freight rates have been under pressure, bunker costs and trucking cost in some important markets were up and we faced a weaker US dollar, whereas higher transport volumes and synergies supported the result,” he said in a statement. “We expect a gradual improvement of the market throughout 2018 — but most of that will only hit the books in the second half of the year.”

Following its merger with the United Arab Shipping Company, completed in May 2017, the company now claims the fifth-largest share in the containership market. It operated 221 vessels this past quarter compared with 172 in the first quarter last year.

These results are not entirely comparable with last year’s because Hapag is now a merged company, the company said.

While revenue grew from €2.1bn to €2.6bn, average freight rate dropped from $1,056 per teu last year to $1,029 per teu in this quarter.

Hapag-Lloyd has a fleet of 221 modern container ships and a total transport capacity of 1.6 teu.